“We are not adrift in chaos.” I hear Elisabeth Elliot say it often as I replay her words in my mind. Her lectures on suffering were an integral part of my journey last year, when the mind was muddy and heart too broken, and words of truth needed. Not just any truth-filled words, but one that came from a voice that knew the path of suffering.
Elisabeth Elliot certainly earned that position. Sixty-three years ago yesterday, her first husband, Jim Elliot, was killed on the mission field. This was not the only husband she would lose, nor the only bitter taste of pain-filled season she would endure.
So when I hear her say it’s not all chaos, things aren’t just falling apart even when it very much seems so, I listen. When she preaches that we are “held in the Everlasting Arms,” I believe her, in awe of her faith tested through such trial.
I wonder, when Jim Elliot wanted so badly to reach the Huaorani people in his life, if he ever thought for a second he would reach across the globe through his martyrdom. That his wife’s broken heart would spill over into books and messages to the broken.
I’m starting to read one of those books, “Keeping a Quiet Heart”, gifted to me by a dear friend who knows my love language (books!!). As I read Elisabeth Elliot’s words, and God uses them to spur me onward, I can’t help but think of her in heaven even now, with her Savior she served so well. Her work on earth done, a ministry completed strong, and still lingering in my hands.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose,” Jim Elliot’s well-known words ring out, which were infused with such a deeper impact upon his death. Elisabeth Elliot talks about the invisible Kingdom, and faith in the unseen work of God is what allowed her to go through grief upon grief with hope and acceptance.
I hear her words, look up, see the day. It’s time to take our foster girl to a visit at DSS. Homeschool books are packed for the boys. And though my spirit is encouraged by these words, my heart feels pricked and sore as grief is agitated. But numbing and ignoring won’t do. It’s easier sometimes, often times, to stay task-oriented and busy. It’s harder to remember, to wrestle with the questions I have, look at the reality of what’s gone on and try to deal with it with truth. And though the wound aches more now, I know God is also increasing my armor to stand against the doubt and lies.
Here we are, in the second week of another cycle of the earth spinning around a blazing ball of fire. The whole cosmos held in perfect suspension. The planets themselves in a sea of stars, ordered and held. And the wonder of such great galaxies warms my heart and blows my mind, and isn’t it funny? That such vast worlds cause me no concern, He holds the whole universe in His hands; and yet my own world can seem like it is actually just falling apart, a sea of chaos, swirling.
You are not adrift in sea of chaos. I remind myself. The God who spins planets, who places their distance at exactly the perfect position, is holding me, He’s holding you, He’s ordering it all. There are plans and purposes and things aren’t spinning out of control, no, He’s weaving them into something good, something beautiful. And faith in the unseen King and the invisible Kingdom steadies and strengthens.